2 new chat apps make a confusing 5 total
Google IO showed off two new messaging apps: Allo for text-based communications and Duo for one-on-one video chat communications, complete with Google Assist. That's great news.
However, Google isn't sunsetting Hangouts or killing off Messenger. Instead, it'll now have five chat apps (not including Google Voice) all doing something slightly different.
According to the Google IO keynote, there are three areas that make Allo special: fun ways to express yourself and keep the conversation going, uses Google Assistant built right into the messaging app, and Allo keeps your conversations private and secure.
"And since messaging is not just about text, smart replies contain stickers and emojis too because as you say, an emoji is worth 1000 words. Do they say that?" joked Erik Kay, Google's Director of Engineering.
"In our internal testing, we found that Allo is 90% accurate in determining whether or not the dog deserves the cute dog response," he said to more audience laughter.
Finally, Allo and and Duo available on two platforms, both iOS and Android. You can't say that about the iOS-only iMessages just yet, though Apple is looking to bring more services to Android.
3 key Android N features
Android N introduces three layers of helpful security tools. It adds file-based encryption, which is much more specific than encryption down to the block level.
It also hardens security of the media framework, especially since it is accessing files from anywhere on the Internet.
Lastly, it Installs updates automatically in the background, which is a boon for security updates we often like to dismiss until "later."
"Safe browsing warns users ahead of time when you're about to go to a site that we know contains known malware or is known to be deceptive," said Google's Dave Burke. "Today, we are protecting over 1 billion mobile Chrome users."
He went on to add, "Every day, we test over 1 billion devices and over 8 billion installed apps."
How 99% of people use the Recent button
"We particularly focused on the recent app screen. What we learn from our user research is over 99% of the time, people only select an app within the last seven," said Burke.
That's why Google decided to simplify by automatically removing apps in the list that you haven't used in a while.
"This then makes it much easier to use the app that you're looking for. Also, based on popular demand, we finally added a clear all button at the top," proudly demoed Burke.
72 new emojis
There's also support for Unicode 9, which brings 72 new emoji so you can "let your friends know for example when you're dancing like the shark while juggling and eating of Accardo toast in order to win first prize in that selfie contest."
Unicode 10 was teased by Burke, too: "We are committed to working on the next generation of emoji. We will better represent women in professional roles."
He said, "There are over 250 major new features in N; every thing from Java eight language support to data saver, setting suggestions, and much much more."
50 million Cardboard apps
VR by Google "actually started at a Google IO two years ago with Google Cardboard," Clay Bavor, the VR team lead reminded the Google IO keynote audience.
"Since then Cardboard has done some pretty amazing things. There are millions of [Cardboard] out there in the world in all shapes and sizes.
"We've enabled thousands of developers to build their first VR app, and users have installed over 50 million Cardboard-enabled apps."
Daydream VR's 3 key parts
There are three parts to the new Daydream VR. "It starts smartphones themselves including VR optimizations to Android N," said Bavor, confirming all of the rumors of the past week.
Secondly, "a reference design for a headset and a controller, and apps both how you get them through Google Play and the apps themselves," he said.
Finally, "we've designed and built each part in concert with the others with a focus on getting the end-to-end user experience just right."
Sadly, a Google VR headset wasn't teased on stage during the Google IO keynote.
100 different Android Wear watch designs
Google's Android Wear software platform is now two years old, spans 12 partners and comes in over 100 different designs.
The key thing to know is that Google admitted "over the past two years we learned a lot about what people want and don't want from a watch."
It promises new features with Android 2.0, which will hopefully serve as a reboot for the struggling smartwatch category.
More Google IO on the way
These numbers tell a lot about an expanding Google that's getting often dealing with millions and even billions of users and interactions with its software and services.
Google's transition into a subsidiary of Alphabet was supposed to make the company streamlined, but it's clear that it's just as complicated and sprawling as ever to cover.
That means we'll have more Google IO coverage from the event over the course of the week, as developers gather and talk about the future of Android, Chrome and, now, your Google Home.
- See into the future with: Google Daydream for its VR plans